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Musings with Mon & Yoga Happs 

Hey Lady Lover,

Well, wow. A whole lot is still going on. I first started to write this a few days before we decided to keep our children home from school. Two days later the government stepped in and reinforced that our decision was warranted. So self-care has kiiiiiinnnd of gone out of the window. I had a psych appointment in my car over FaceTime and then my next appointment 3 weeks later, I decided to go in face-to-face just for a change of scenery and escape from my Groundhog Day, for good reason.

But this new way of living has had me very curious about my cycle, the way my body is changing in my new routine and change from the way I usually flourish in my world. And so, I thought maybe you might like to explore this too. Below is not a pose to learn about or try in a different way, it's a tiny flow. Hopefully the sequence will help you to feel good in your body, give you an opportunity to check in (or out, there is nothing 'wrong' with how you move through your way of doing things!) and will benefit the balance of your hormones through calm, giving that sticky anxiety monster some time out in the corner of the room. 

Then there is some self-care that if you have the time you can draw out and enjoy this opportunity to relish in treating yourself as the goddess that you are, or if you're short on time, saunter through it in your own way. But however you do it, give yourself a little smiling nod that you've got this and connecting inward is never a waste of your time - it's an investment. Finally, to your cycle. Some information on why and how your cycle may shift and what this might mean to your mood, and your general wellbeing.

Enjoy! And if you need any support, I can offer some with and beyond yoga, such as preparing for birth, coming to terms with having your fertility journey on hold, being in your postpartum period... or if you just need to connect, feel feminine or strong... or whatever your flavour, I'm around. I have limited times but I can always chat, and advise, or play with my schedule. I've reduced classes due to teaching online over zoom: Semi-privates (two people) is $35pp and a Private class (one-on-one) is $45. Both sessions for 60mins. If you're preparing for birth I can offer you some supportive mediations, poses and movement for contractions as well as breath and birthing-partner work. This isn't an ad, I genuinely want to help my community however I can. 

Sending love to you all out there. Take care of yourselves. Challenge yourself to stay connected to your girl-gang and to get out for walks whenever you can. Remember you are important, beautiful and loved.

image @angiecouple

Pose of the Week

I don't know about you, but I need more than one pose at the moment. 

Yes, that sticky anxiety monster is at my back throughout the day, ready for needy cuddles. And as I mentioned above (and talk more about below) anxiety, stress, lack of sleep - all of these changes to how we work in the world, will affect our periods and our cycle. Even if you aren't concerned about your cycle, give this short flow a try.

I won't breakdown the movement as I usually do here, so head to my Instagram for a video of me guiding you through the below poses/flow. This sequence is from the amazing Ana Davis of Bliss Baby, and her ebook Moving with the Moon. This sequence is for when we are in our premenstrual phase or waning moon of our cycle, to nourish the nervous system. Brilliant for those with a lot of what Ayurveda calls the Vata dosha, but basically - it helps to soothe the signs of PMS which I think we (well hopefully I'm not the only one!) may experience more regularly such as irritation, frustration, high emotion, stress, buzzing energy and anxiety, fear and feeling untethered while physically being completely tethered to your home.

Apanasana & Knee Circles
Supta Padangustasana
Forward Virasana to DD
Chair Shoulderstand
Supported Child Pose
Nadhi Shodhana

image @gingertaylorartist


There is SO much self-care I would like to suggest, but although I will keep it semi-brief I have to make a comment on food. With the change in weather and season, try to listen even harder to your body and your inner rhythms. Changing into cooler and winder weather, try adding more root vegetables to your meals. Delicious and literally (in Ayurveda) are said to 'root', ground or 'earth' you. Try it. Another quick try-it-tip in this time of transition (into a new season and into this new way of living), is having specific boundaries around bedtime: be in bed, and asleep before 10pm. This is an Ayurveda rule but also Dr. Oscar Serrallach notes in his book The Postnatal Depletion Cure that new mothers especially should be in bed by this time to support healing and wellness, but I think this is a good rule for us all as Ayurveda suggests. 

Finally - here is my actual self-care yumminess to try, from Sarah Kucera's book The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook. This is a morning ritual: squeeze the lemons life gives you by "using some lemon essential oil daily to invigorate your day and bring you back to inner calm, and adrenal balance". As Kucera suggests, "lemon oil is a known supporter of adrenal function. [...] As stress can cause us to feel like we are living more in our head than in our physical body, this ritual will restore the connection as it helps to reestablish balance in your adrenal glands."

How to and why:
Rub lemon essential oil in your hands with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond
(just a couple of drops of each)
Open your palms a few inches in front of your face and take in three deep breaths.
As you do this, think about how grateful you are for all that your hands give you: food to eat, the ability to create, to cook, to play and help others.
As you continue, connect internally and externally & massage any excess oil onto your neck and shoulders. 

And a night time ritual, to help wind down to sleep before 10pm, you ask? Well Kucera has one for that too: 3-5mins writing time. She goes on to suggest something else... what I suggest is a combination of some gratitude, along with a sentence or two about the time we are in. It isn't likely you will experience a time like this where we are bound to our homes (things are already lifting now) again, so why not keep a little log of what you have learnt about yourself in this time - what has frustrated you, what is new, what you enjoy about the quiet... Who knows? This could be a gift you take out of this time ♡

image @onbeinginyourbody

Fun Female Fact

Look, this might not be you, but I think it's important to understand that we as women are cyclical. We cycle in our life and in our period, and the way we move through the stages of our period (even if you aren't aware of it) do effect who you are from one moment or day to another. And hormones as I've said before are everything. And hormones are affected by changes in our lives... hence my little mention of them here as our lives take a little flip on 'normality'. But even though some of this is not fun news, it is a positive thing to be aware of how lovely and beautiful it is to take time to give a little back to yourself...

So in our Menstrual Cycle there are 4 phases. In one of these phases, the luteal phase (as Toni Weschler explains in Taking Charge Of Your Fertility defines it) is '[T]he phase of the menstrual cycle from ovulation to the onset of the next menstruation. It typically lasts from 12 - 16 days, but rarely varies by more than a day or two within [...] women.' And this phase is where the hormone progesterone controls the changes that occur. Marilyn Shannon, author of Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition believes a luteal phase deficiency is intricately related to PMS. Ana Davis, yoga teacher, trainer and author of Moving With The Moon writes that 'if progesterone production is balanced, a woman may feel reflective, intuitive, and in touch with dreams during this second stage. Too much progesterone, on the other hand, can cause her to feel depressed, lethargic, and sexually unattractive.' Davis goes on to explain in her ebook that 'The hypothalamus sits close to the emotional centre of the brain and can therefore be affected by emotional upheaval or physical illness.'

And what of stress. And anxiety. What does this do to our cycle and our hormones? 

Dr. Christiane Northrup in Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom writes "People who have a sense of hopelessness or despair and who perceive their situation as being uncontrollably stressful have higher levels of corticosteroids and immune suppression that do those who have more resilient coping styles."

And what are corticosteroids? Hormones produced from the adrenal glands - which can mean MORE PROGESTERONE outside of our cycle. BOOM! Mind Blown. More progesterone = more mood swings and symptoms of PMS. But all is not lost... She goes on to say:

"The most crucial thing to understand is this: It is not stress itself that creates immune system problems. It is, rather, the perception that the stress is inescapable - that there is nothing a person can do to prevent or change it - that is associated with immune system suppression. But perception can always be changed. And that is the key to getting and staying well."

If you can't think of how to change your perception... go back up to look at the yoga movement and to the self-care and maybe sit and plan how you can self-care better. Understand yourself better. And do what is beneficial to you and your health, better.

Sending BIG, BIG squeezey hugs,

Love, Monique xo

image @rupikaur_

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